A semi-happy flight; 5-game winning streak ends.

What could have been, is usually how a team replays it in their minds, after a loss. The Washington Nationals were riding a 5-game winning streak coming into this game. They got everything they needed from starter Patrick Corbin who gave up only one-run in 5⅓ innings. The offense, defense, bullpen, and extreme BABIP bad luck were an issue. The bullpen didn’t miss enough bats when they needed strikeouts in this 7-2 loss. Also, 2-runs was not going to cut it for an offense that saw their bats go cold for the most part.

The team’s last 6-game winning streak was on September 27 of 2019. The pitcher who started that streak: Corbin. How do you like that for some historical coincidence. Unfortunately, the Nats bullpen feels like a bicameral split between good and bad. Kyle Finnegan and Hunter Harvey on the good side then everyone else. Finnegan and Harvey have a combined 2.42 ERA and most of that in high leverage spots, and the rest of the bullpen has a 4.67 ERA and that doesn’t include the 35 inherited runners who have scored mostly on the starter’s ERAs.

“To win two out of three [in Detroit] was good,” Corbin said. “I wanted to get the sweep today, but guys have been battling. Just looking forward to getting home and starting another winning streak.”

Home is where they’re headed. The American Airlines charter jet AA9721 will land at Dulles Airport before 8:00 pm local time. It should be a semi-happy flight for some. For some others, who knows. For the players, only Corbin and Tanner Rainey have been around this organization long enough to know what that 6-game winning streak felt like in 2021 — and truth be told — the winning streak continued for two more games to finish the season on an 8-game run. They took that into the playoffs and won the Wild Card.

This team is playing without their best pitcher, Trevor Williams, and a bullpen on fumes. The offense is very inconsistent and the DH, Eddie Rosario, bats cleanup while sporting a sub-Mendoza .184 batting average and a weakling’s OPS of .582.

This team doesn’t have one batter over a .770 OPS at the moment. But Rosario’s .582 is unacceptable from a cleanup hitter who can’t even hustle. Do the math from Rosario’s 14-game hot streak in which the team was a disappointing 5-9 during that span. It wasn’t like he ever carried this team when he hit those 5-homers and slashed .348.423/.739 with a 1.162 OPS. The rest of his season has been 2-homers and a .129 batting average, a .262 SLG, and a .431 OPS over 43-games.

Your RBI and offensive leader is actually your lead-off hitter, CJ Abrams. After Abrams, it is the nearly-powerless Joey Meneses ( 2 HR, 10 Doubles) who has the second-most RBIs on the team. Interestingly enough, Meneses leads the team in RBIs per at-bat. Yes, Meneses had been stuck in a platoon recently with lefty Joey Gallo until Gallo was injured, and that limited Meneses to only 210 at-bats. Coincidentally, Meneses hit 20 percent of his doubles in today’s game.

The holes in this team’s roster is rather crystal clear. For next season, the team needs a first baseman, an upgrade at catcher, two more high lev bullpen arms, an ace pitcher, and a partridge in a pear tree. Exactly, we will be wishing for a holiday miracle this winter to fill the holes. Of course there are more holes than that, and the other spots will be filled from the team’s expansive list of top prospects. At some point, James Wood, Dylan Crews, and Brady House will be part of this team’s permanent roster.

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